New characters in Red Dwarf X

A whole cavalcade of new, occasionally maddened characters pop up in Red Dwarf X. Let's welcome them to the family...

Dominator Zlurth

Howard Rimmer

We'd heard of Rimmer's hated siblings before, but the first episode of Red Dwarf X let us see one in the flesh. Or rather, in the light, because Howard Rimmer turned out to be a hologram too. It wasn't the warmest of family reunions, what with Howard immediately reminding Arnie that he was always an "utter twat" before informing him that his "brain is smaller than the salad section in a Scottish supermarket".

It turned out that despite Rimmer's lifelong inferiority complex about Howard, his bruv was every bit as much of a loser as he was. In fact, rather than being a brave captain in the space corps, he too was a lowly vending machine repairman. So did Rimmer also come clean about being a fellow nozzle de-gunker? Not on your nelly, me laddo. When Howard gallantly gave his life to shield Arnold from a deadly weapon, his dying moments were spent in a final spasm of envy as Rimmer lied to him about having a fancy sports car. What can we say, he's a git.

Appears in Episode 1 - Trojan

Crawford

When Howard Rimmer first turned up with a shapely woman standing alongside him, we all did a whiplash-inducing double take. A woman? Without an "H" on her head? Could it be time for sexy-sexy-human-race-restarting fun for Dave Lister? Was it actually time for him to change his pants and brush his teeth? No such luck, Crawford turned out to be a simulant. And wouldn't you know it, just like... ooooh, every simulant EVER, she was a homicidal maniac. Here's a thought, humans: stop using simulants. It might just work out better that way.

Anyway, so Crawford was actually secretly plotting against Howard Rimmer and she eventually held everyone at gunpoint while demanding a quantum rod (it's a nifty little gizmo that can whisk your ship places, so we don't blame her really). Luckily, before she could blast everyone to smithereens, the Cat made himself useful for once by injecting her neck with a load of unpleasant code, turning her into a swirly-eyed, goofy-mouthed mannequin. Last we saw her, she had a spoon attached to her hand and was being used as a novelty coffee-stirring device by Lister. Oh, the indignity of it.

Appears in Episode 1 - Trojan

Rebecca Blackstone interview

Pree You know predictive texting on those "mobile telephones" you have these days? Well, imagine if a computer could apply the same principle to EVERYTHING, so it could predict exactly what you would do in any given situation, and do it for you, so you wouldn't then have to do it, and could therefore do something else instead. It would be flipping maddening, right? Add to that a generous dollop of control freakery and homicidal behaviour, and you have Pree.

Holly's successor as the Red Dwarf ship computer, Pree wasn't exactly EVIL per se. Just really, really by the book. So when Lister resigned from his position, he was declared a waste of space and ejected from the ship. And that meant the ship no longer had a reason for existing, so Pree decided to implement Operation Sizzle, aka Let's Fly Red Dwarf Into the Nearest Sun. In a shocking twist, Lister outwitted Pree using logic alone. Yes, behind that squidgy, bhaji-scented gerbil face lies a fully functioning brain after all...

Appears in Episode 2 - Fathers and Suns

Medi-bot

If you got an unimaginative hack of a cartoonist and asked him to sketch his idea of a giggling, sadistic Nazi doctor, chances are something resembling Red Dwarf's medi-bot would issue forth from his pen.

But, despite resembling something from some child's hospital-inspired nightmares, the bot is actually quite a pleasant chap with a rather warm and lively American-or-Canadian accent that makes every visit a real delight. Unless they've run out of anaesthetic, in which case your best option is to run screaming away. See: Lister.

Appears in Episode 2 - Fathers and Suns

Jesus

Flat pack furniture eh? It's enough to reduce even the grizzliest of veteran handymen to a swearing wreck, knelt weeping amid the detritus of loose screws, allen keys and small, rectangular, splintery planks of wood. But the Dwarfers had an even worse experience than most when they cobbled together a gene-rejuvenating device which accidentally swept them back to the distant past. On Earth. Where they met Jesus.

Yes, him. Or should we say, "Him". Actually no, he's just a lower-case him, because he's not THE Jesus. He's just another lank-haired crusty with a penchant for peace and preaching, albeit with some kind of Geordie-like accent. Of course, the Dwarfers didn't know any better to begin with, and treated him like the Messiah. And when Jesus read up on Christianity and decided he wanted no part of it, he ran amok trying to violate all the Commandments and nipping religion in the bud. Luckily for all of us who treasure Wallace and Gromit reruns at Christmas, his plan didn't work. But it did give a whole new spin to the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?"

Appears in Episode 3 - Lemons

Beggs

Let's face it, any entities officially known as "Biologically Engineered Garbage Gobblers" are unlikely to make for ideal party hosts. Unless the party in question happens to be in, say, a skip.

More than living up to their name, the Beggs are a race of obscene genetically-engineered creatures, each of whom looks like what would happen if you mangled a pig, a hobbit and a member of a 80s hair metal band. Not that this put Lister off playing cards with them of course. A card game which nearly resulted in the loss of the Dwarf, Rimmer and, most crucially, Lister's groin.

Appears in Episode 4 - Entangled

Before...

Professor Edgington Check out Professor Edgington. Hubba hubba, you can see why Rimmer took a shine to her, eh? Those coquettish eyes... that hairy torso... OK, this isn't the Professor at her absolute best. She had a little accident with an evolution device, you see, which sent her genes back several million years in time, reverting her to ape-status. But then what can you expect from a scientist handpicked because of her genius for being utterly wrongheaded at all times?

...after! A top person at the Erroneous Reasoning Research Academy, where football refs, TV critics and other perennially incorrect people put their heads together to come up with accidentally brilliant concepts, Professor Edgington came in very handy when the Dwarfers needed to release Lister from a bomb attached to his penis. Sadly, before the Prof could consummate her relationship with Rimmer (told you she was wrongheaded), she got sucked out into space. Pity, really. A bit of hologram-human sex would definitely have livened things up.

Appears in Episode 4 - Entangled

Hogey the Roguey

"Youuuu killllled my brothhhher." On balance, there are better ways to kick off a conversation, but tell that to rogue droid Hogey, who was determined to take his revenge on Lister through a good old-fashioned duel. Still, when he wasn't talking about his brother's demise or deadly duels, Hogey was actually quite a likable sort of chap. In fact, as vengeance-crazed killer robot-creatures went, he was quite the social butterfly.

Last we saw him, he was sealing a hole in the Red Dwarf hull with his own body, and looking thoroughly miserable about it. Here's hoping we see more of him in any future series that come our way, if only because he has a quite magnificent 'tache.

Appears in Episode 6 - The Beginning

Dominator Zlurth

He's probably got a proper first name, this bloke, but let's get into the spirit of the simulant way of life and address him as his henchmen do: My Dominator. Yes, it makes it sound like he should be clad in black PVC with a giant paddle in his hand, ready to commit various invasive atrocities on the Dwarfers, but thankfully he was content simply to kill them all. Or at least try to.

Things didn't work out too well for My Dominator, though. For one thing, he was surrounded by inept, suicidally subservient underlings. For another, the Dwarfers had a massively intimidating weapon at their disposal: a wibbly gun. It made things go all wibbly, which came in surprisingly handy during their confrontation with My Dominator's death ship. Adding insult to injury, Dominator - or 'Big D' as we've now decided to call him - was eventually destroyed thanks to a plan devised by... Arnold J. Rimmer. Good thing he died, really – he'd have never lived that down.

Appears in Episode 6 - The Beginning

Alex Hardy interview

Chancellor Wednesday Every deranged intergalactic villain needs a snivelling sidekick, and My Dominator had one in the shape of Chancellor Wednesday – the Baldrick to his Blackadder, if you will. Unlike Balders, though, the Chancellor was if anything TOO efficient and loyal. To the point where he committed entirely unnecessary hara-kiri by way of apology for screwing up a mission.

All the boss wanted was for him to polish a sword, but Wednesday was soon giving his insides a good workout with the business end. The moral of the story? Always ask before disembowelling yourself – your liver will thank you.

Appears in Episode 6 - The Beginning

Rimmer's father

When it comes to troubled father-son relationships on Red Dwarf, Lister probably wins out, thanks to the fact that "due to some time traveley paradoxy sci-fi smeg" he happens to be his own dad. But Rimmer comes a close second, thanks to the Freudian horrors of his own lineage.

We finally got a glimpse of his daddy in Series X, in a flashback which showed Rimmer Snr as a lecturer at Arnold's old polytechnic, making his own son a guinea pig in classroom social experiments. But there was a twist. Turns out, Rimmer's father isn't Rimmer's father at all. His actual dad was Dungo the gardener, who is not-so-fondly remembered by Arnie as a "babbling imbecile".

Appears in Episode 6 - The Beginning

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